Motorsport, memories and the Mount - that was the theme of Ian Messner's first return to Mount Panorama in 20 years.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
The once Hardie-Ferodo driver made his return to the track on Sunday, November 6 as a member of the Ford RS Owners Club (Australia), who held a display at the Bathurst Motor Racing Museum as part of the club's 40th anniversary.
Although the Mountain has changed since Messner's stints behind the wheel in 1977, 1978 and 1979, he still holds the "institution" close to his heart.
"It's certainly changed a lot over the years, all of the infrastructure was never there when I was racing," Messner said.
"We went camping in a tent, there was nothing fancy in those days. All of the money we had, we spent on the car. You did it more for love than money.
"I drove around it and I was amazed how much nicer it is to drive, it's a much quicker track than it used to be.
"I've got a lot of memories here. It's one of those places you never forget because it's such an institution."
Messner's top result at Mount Panorama came in 1978 when he finished 18th outright and placed fourth in his class behind three Alfa Romeos before disaster struck.
"The car ran spotlessly all day, but the funny thing is, we took the same car to Surfers [Paradise] for a six hour race a couple of weeks later and I decided it was going so well that I wouldn't touch it," Messner said.
"We did two laps around Surfers and the camshaft broke. It could've happened here in Bathurst. If I had done two more laps in practice, I wouldn't have finished.
"The thing I loved about Bathurst was it was basically like winning the lottery, you didn't know whether you were going to finish or not, so when you did you felt like you really achieved something."
As a member of the Ford RS Owners Club (Australia) for 15 years, Messner - who "always drove Escorts" - said he had hoped to build a replica of one of his race cars only to discover how rare the vehicles, including their parts, had become.
"I wish I had kept mine," Messner laughed.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.